Saturday, January 30, 2010

Unloading 35 Loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" 21/35

Steve Ray has a list of 35 loaded Questions for "Bible Christians" (quotation marks his)(link to the whole list). This is number 21/35. I'm trying to provide the answers in a common format, for easy reference.

21) Who in the Church had the authority to determine which books belonged in the New Testament canon and to make this decision binding on all Christians? If nobody has this authority, then can I remove or add books to the canon on my own authority?

Simple Answer(s):

1) Everyone and no one.

2) Yes and no.

Important Qualification(s):

1) As usual, it depends what Steve Ray means. If he means who has the ability to assess whether something is the Word of God, the answer is that all believers have the ability. If Steve Ray means to ask whether that ability is placed infallibly in a single person, the answer is no one.

2) And likewise, yes, anyone can believe or not a particular book, but whether or not someone believes that a book is the Word of God does not change the objective fact of whether that book is the word of God.

3) More to the point, the canon of Scripture is an objective fact. Whether a book is inspired or not is something that we recognize - not something that we "decide" in the sense of exerting an authority over the books themselves. We recognize that by faith, through various instrumentalities - such as history, providence, and the inward moving of the Holy Spirit.

- TurretinFan

8 comments:

BenBerea said...

Hi TF, I enjoy your blog. Been lurking for over a year.

"3) More to the point, the canon of Scripture is an objective fact. Whether a book is inspired or not is something that we recognize -"

Amen to that. When it comes to objective reality, man's role is to recognize that reality, not define it. I think that using those terms (recognize vs. define) in discussing the canon with Roman Catholics helps clarify the issues.

I'd point out that Ray's choice of the word "determine" in the question above just adds to the confusion, since "determine" can be validly interpreted to mean either recognize or define (I "determine" something just in terms of recognizing it for myself, or I "determine" it in the sense I'm defining it).

natamllc said...

Well, undoubtedly and needing to be offered here because I do more than a fair amount of commenting on your blog. If you are willing, I will continue the practice? If not, let me know and I will moderate myself with fewer opinions, thoughts, ideas and Scriptural eisegesis and exegesis.

Having heard no objections yet if at all, knowing full well that we do not see eye to eye on everything you put over in here, here is what comes to my mind regarding this that is being handled today.

21) Who in the Church had the authority to determine which books belonged in the New Testament canon and to make this decision binding on all Christians?

My answer:
"Not the god of this world, the spirit of the world that leads God's people into madness and eternal destruction, as sometimes is the eventuality, that grave and gnashing affair found only in the lake of fire, prepared before the present heavens and earth, this world and everything in it, for Satan and his angels."

Psa 89:10 You crushed Rahab like a carcass; you scattered your enemies with your mighty arm.
Psa 89:11 The heavens are yours; the earth also is yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.
Psa 89:12 The north and the south, you have created them; Tabor and Hermon joyously praise your name.
Psa 89:13 You have a mighty arm; strong is your hand, high your right hand.
Psa 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
Psa 89:15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O LORD, in the light of your face,
Psa 89:16 who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted.
Psa 89:17 For you are the glory of their strength; by your favor our horn is exalted.
Psa 89:18 For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.
Psa 89:19 Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: "I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.

and

2Ti 3:14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
2Ti 3:15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
2Ti 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
2Ti 3:17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Ransom said...

To paraphrase as I understand it:

--Every believer has the "ability to assess whether something is the Word of God" -- ability meaning power, capacity.
--However, not all who believe, are correct in their belief -- some are objectively wrong. In other words, some who believe they have that ability, power, don't in fact.

So how do you know whether you are correct or not?

At first glance it seems to enter the world of circular reasoning, but Calvin answers the question this way:

"Let it be considered, then, as an undeniable truth, that they who have been inwardly taught by the Spirit, feel an entire acquiescence in the Scripture, and that it is self-authenticated, carrying with it its own evidence, and ought not to be made the subject of demonstrations and arguments from reason; but it obtains the credit which it deserves with us by the testimony of the Spirit."

That is where the "inward movings of the Holy Spirit" come in. If you have them, you will think as Calvin does; if you don't, you won't. It doesn't work as a proof, or as a distinctive in support of his belief system as compared to other non-Catholic Christian denominations, but then, I guess it isn't supposed to. It does seem to avoid the trap of circular reasoning.

natamllc said...

ransom,

you wrote: "....That is where the "inward movings of the Holy Spirit" come in. If you have them, you will think as Calvin does; if you don't, you won't. It doesn't work as a proof, or as a distinctive in support of his belief system as compared to other non-Catholic Christian denominations, but then, I guess it isn't supposed to. It does seem to avoid the trap of circular reasoning.".

I am not certain of what TF will respond to that. Here is my response.

I will say and ask questions.

When I read this sentence:

"....If you have them, you will think as Calvin does; if you don't, you won't.".

You are using the word "if" in the sentence.

Don't you have it wrong? The correct premise, in my view, with regard to Calvin after reading his writings is to acknowledge what the Holy Spirit acknowledges within you about what he taught while reading him. It is the same as with all of the Reformers I have a little knowledge of by reading and as with some by reading and listening to them, since, some of the greatest reformers are quite literally alive today so that we can talk to them, touch them, listen to them, cry with them when appropriate and laugh at them laugh at themselves.

Why do I say that?

Because I have that witness within myself now. I experience the inward movings of the Holy Spirit within myself too. I do not have to read the Bible or Calvin to know of this inner witness of the Holy Spirit. He can speak for Himself quite well.

The correct premise, in my view, is to start with what you know "after" reading the Bible or Calvin or other great reformers. It is this that confirms that they too have an inner working of the "same" Holy Spirit in them and manifested objectively from their writing or oral proclamation or oral teaching.

The mark is clear the Apostle John wrote:

1Jn 2:23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.
1Jn 2:24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father.
1Jn 2:25 And this is the promise that he made to us--eternal life.
1Jn 2:26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you.
1Jn 2:27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie--just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Well, doesn't that conclusion then beg the question, "why learn from Calvin or TurretinFan"?

Why, why go to Church services?

Why, why not just run around with ladies of iniquity and come to confessional services afterward?

Why anything in this world, then?

What do you think?

beowulf2k8 said...

"Who in the Church had the authority to determine which books belonged in the New Testament canon and to make this decision binding on all Christians?"

The apostle Marcion.

chamber said...

The god of the bible said - "Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man." (Numbers 31:17-18)

How can this possibly be justified? This, being in a book from the creator of the universe? Why? How?

Pete Holter said...

Greetings in the LORD, Chamber!

Saint Augustine’s 22nd book of Against Faustus is a good place to start to learn how we read the Old Testament. You can find a copy over at New Advent or CCEL. I’d link, but I don’t want my comment to get trapped. I could also email you a Word copy of Against Faustus with my highlights if you’d like.

May the God who loves you bless you with faith in Jesus of Nazareth, resurrected from the dead.

In Christ,
Pete Holter

Natamllc said...

chamber, from a purely biologically natural point of view, I guess you can say God understands how and why Adam's sin was so life altering and life changing to all humanity?

It was his sin, not Eve's, that is attributed and conveyed upon us all that come into this world through our mother's womb.

That, to me, shows two things. One, it shows the purity of the Holy Spirit when He came upon Mary and she conceived Jesus. Two, it shows us the powerful effect the federal head of Adam has in conveying sin upon his posterity. Even Jesus had to suffer the unnatural experience of death.

1Co 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.


Like others, you might be becoming to emotionally attached to non-Biblical forms of reasoning so that you are devoid of His power, love and soundness of mind by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit working within your heart and soul so that through the Holy Spirit you are not able to reason through rough verses like Numbers 31:17-18?